Daily Fantasy Golf: Valspar Championship expert picks
As part of ESPN Fantasy’s efforts to give daily gamers intel on whom to target in DFS, our fantasy golf experts are here to share the players they view as building blocks for this weekend’s event. The panel for the Valspar Championship features ESPN.com’s Jason Sobel, Kevin Maguire, Matt Barrie, Bob Harig, Jonathan Coachman and Michael Collins, and FantasyGolfInsider’s Roger Casey, Jeff Bergerson and Zach Turcotte, as well as Dailyfantasybootcamp.com’s Alvin Zeidenfeld and David Jayne.
Note: Golfer salaries listed are for DraftKings.
Jason Sobel — Justin Thomas ($10,000)
I had the opportunity to play the Copperhead course at Innisbrook recently and got a chance to see the new greens firsthand. They’re all redone since last year, and while they’re rolling smooth, they’re also extremely bouncy. By that logic, I’m looking at players who rank highest in the “apex height” category of ball-striking. Thomas is second on the PGA Tour this season and first of those who will be in Tampa this week. Hitting higher shots should allow for less bounce, which will be even more important than usual.
High should help out at Valspar Championship
Jonathan Coachman — Patrick Reed ($10,400)
I am learning that the top players of today’s game are not Tiger Woods. Missed cuts are going to happen, and that’s OK. So I have no problem picking a player who has not been in form lately, but does have recent positive history at this course. Reed played too much golf from October through February and fatigue set in. Last year, he made a huge putt to get into a playoff at the Valspar Championship and then Jordan Spieth won on the third extra hole. Reed gets back on the winning track this week.
Kevin Maguire — Graeme McDowell ($9,200)
He has never played the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook, but don’t be surprised if it sets up well for the Northern Irishman, who ranks fourth on the PGA Tour in driving accuracy. He has cashed checks at all but one start so far in the wraparound season, so getting to the weekend shouldn’t be a problem.
Bob Harig — Henrik Stenson ($11,500)
Long overdue for a win, Stenson finished fourth in his first try at Innisbrook a year ago. At No. 7, he’s the second-highest-ranked player in the field, behind only Jordan Spieth.
Matt Barrie — Kevin Na ($9,100)
He has a chance this week to take advantage of an Adam Scott-Rory McIlroy-Bubba Watson-Jason Day-less Field. While Na will still have to contend with world No. 1 Jordan Spieth, Na’s game is suited for a course like Copperhead that doesn’t require top-of-tour length. Na has recorded four top-three finishes this season, and has had success in this event, including a second-place finish in 2014. Na is a good look this week.
Michael Collins — Lucas Glover ($6,600)
This week I’m swinging for the fences. The Copperhead course demands being good off the tee and so far this year, Glover leads the tour in total driving (distance plus accuracy). Even though he’s coming off two missed cuts, I think the week off did him good and you’ll all be calling me psychic by the end of the week.
Jeff Bergerson — Jason Dufner ($9,400)
If you think it has been difficult getting all the guys on your DraftKings rosters through the cut so far this season, just wait until this week. My goal this week is to identify those players with the absolute best chance to accumulate points over the weekend, and Jason Dufner is my top choice. In his last seven appearances here at Copperhead, Dufner has not finished worse than 28th. This season he has only missed one cut, has three top 10s, and a T-11 last week at the WGC-Cadillac. His game sets up nicely for this course as he is strong in many of the key statistical categories this week, including strokes gained tee-to-green, driving accuracy and birdie or better percentage. I especially like the fact that Dufner is priced outside of the top 10 golfers at $9,400.
Zach Turcotte — Harris English ($9,600)
Dependability is one of the more underrated attributes for golfers when selecting a lineup each week. Too often, a player like Harris English will get overlooked as he lacks the big wins on Tour to generate a lot of buzz from week to week. Given the recent volatile environment in DFS golf where few squads are getting the full compliment of players through the cut, the ability to get to the weekend is more important than ever before. English has ascended from cut-maker status to cut-maker with upside this season. He has finished in the top 10 in two high-quality events in his last three starts and has finished in the top 10 at Copperhead in two of the last three seasons as well. His tee-to-green game and putting keep him competitive each week and should keep him out of trouble more often than his fellow competitors, a huge key at a challenging course like this.
Roger Casey — Danny Lee ($8,000)
Danny Lee is such an obnoxiously versatile golfer that I can only imagine that his bomber counterparts who have enjoyed less success in the past year must be very, very frustrated. While Danny is not long off the tee, he is an absolutely outstanding iron player from virtually any distance and a first-rate putter on top of that. We saw what he can do when he ran the table on the Greenbrier last year and was very much in position to take down Phoenix this year. After a few disappointing finishes, there’s no better buy-low opportunity on a guy at his $8,000 price tag than Lee at this event, where he finished tied for seventh place last year.
Alvin Zeidenfeld — Kevin Na ($9,100)
While the recent form is a bit troubling to me (Na has missed cut in his last two tournaments with a cut line, and has ended with a score over par in each of his last three tournaments), his course history at Copperhead is very solid. Na has two top-10 finishes the past two years at this event, including a second place two years ago. Na also provides a salary value when compared to his Vegas odds this week, which is typically tough to find at the higher end of the salary spectrum. I’ll be able to lock in Kevin Na as well as another high priced golfer to give me a chance at the top of the leaderboards. Sign me up.
David Jayne — Harris English ($9,600)
English makes for a solid building block having only missed one cut since May of last year. He has recently flashed some upside with a third-place finish in Phoenix and a top 10 at Doral last week. Not only does he have two top 10s in the last three appearances here, but he also won the 2011 Southern Amateur at this course with a bogey-free 65 to win by three strokes. In 2015, Harris ranked 36th in scrambling, 10th in strokes gained putting, and 14th in par 3 birdie or better percentage (this course has five par 3’s). While Jordan Spieth and Henrik Stenson are certainly solid options this week, if you are looking to build a more balanced team, consider starting it with English.